Wireless Festival promoter Live Nation appeals Haringey Council’s decision to reduce sound levels and finish earlier

PUBLISHED: 12:18 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:26 22 November 2018

The crowd at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park this year. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire.

The crowd at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park this year. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire.

PA Wire/PA Images

Wireless Festival promoters say reducing bass levels at the event and finishing half-an-hour earlier would put it out of business and is appealing Haringey Council’s restrictions.

A crowd watching Labrinth on the main stage at Wireless Festival 2014 in Finsbury Park. Picture: Yui Mok/PA ArchiveA crowd watching Labrinth on the main stage at Wireless Festival 2014 in Finsbury Park. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Archive

Live Nation submitted an appeal to Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on the 21st and last possible day.

It states the conditions placed on the licence when it was reviewed last month would put off “headline artists of international repute” and therefore it wouldn’t be “commercially viable”.

The news comes after the decision to ultimately allow the festival to continue in Finsbury Park. As well as the sound levels and the earlier closing time on the last day, councillors emphasised the need for the promoters to encourage artists not to swear.

The belief was Live Nation would be happier with the outcome than the campaigners who brought the review, The Friends of Finsbury Park (FoFP) – who wanted the licence revoked and were themselves considering an appeal.

FoFP, who had already taken their campaign for the festival to be kicked out of the park to the High Court, claimed the festival causes a public nuisance and brings crime and disorder to the area.

Among the complaints were drug taking and dealing, urination, vomiting and excrement on doorsteps and children being exposed to swearing.

Two festivalgoers died at this year’s event, which was headlined by J. Cole, Drake and Stormzy. The review was supported by Hackney and Islington councils as well as Jeremy Corbyn.

Responding to Live Nation appeal last night, FoFP said: “We are dismayed that big business in the form of Live Nation has decided to attempt to overturn the decision of democratically elected councillors who heard evidence from local residents and councillors from three boroughs over the course of two evenings at Haringey Town Hall, and were evidently persuaded that Live Nation has been causing a public nuisance.

“Haringey Council must now defend the decision by the LSC to impose new conditions on the licence.”

In respect of the sound level reductions, Live Nation said: “‘Wireless Festival is unlikely to be commercially viable or practically feasible with such bass levels or with such sound levels on the adjoining Seven Sisters Road.

“Headline artists will be deterred from appearing and the enjoyment of the audience will be materially diminished, to the extent that extensive audience complaints about low sound levels will be received, there will be an adverse response on social media and the worldwide reputation will be affected.”

On the 9.30pm closing time on the final night, the promoter added: “It will be seriously damaging to the commerciality and attractiveness of the event.

“Headline artists of international repute will not be interested in finishing their performance at 9:30pm before it is even dark enough for an effective light show as part of the climax the act.

“The audience will complain about early closing and the reputation of the event and the premises licence holder will suffer.”

Live Nation lawyer Philip Kolvin had said at the hearing FoFP’s demands for the festival capacity to be reduced from 45,000 to 10,000 would put it out of business, but no such objections were made regarding noise or finishing times.

Before the hearing began Live Nation agreed to a raft of conditions proposed by Islington Council, including additional sound monitoring.

Mr Kolvin also said Wireless was the “only festival in the world that fully represents the community in which it is based”.

“It’s a celebration of grime music,” he said. “A genre that emerged from London, from the estates, from the inner city. It’s London music – therefore, the festival celebrates the music of the people.”

Haringey Council has been contacted for comment.

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